Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Weekend

It was the baking weekend - finally!
Saturday morning we had that yummy french toast just as planned. If you have not been to Prairie Mill Bread in the Northland strip mall, go now. They have amazing bread that manages to taste as good as the day you bought it after two weeks in the freezer. But what I love the most is the Apple Crunch or Cinnamon Swirl. Plain old white bread for french toast just does not cut it anymore. Eggs, and milk is all I use in my batter and then the toast needs to be cut really thick and left on the griddle for a long time. Of course Licia insisted on adding whipped cream to this already calorie laden breakfast and I had to oblige because it is Saturday after all!

Then after all of this yumminess, I decided to get out the Kitchen Aid and finally try a few recipes that I have found on other foodie blogs. The first was a white chocolate blondie for my Sunday lunch party. The idea was to top it with vanilla icecream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce a la Moxies. The blondie was yummy but not so good that I would post the recipe and insist everyone try it. I still want something with a bit more thickness and substance to it. This, ended up with the right flavor, but the texture was off and left me wishing for Moxies. My guests didn't seem to mind though so I will chalk it up to a success.

I also made Torie's Chocolate Chip Cookies, a Martha Stewart staple recipe that I have used for years with great results. This time I left out the dark chocolate chips and raisins and added white chocolate chips along with toffee bits (got to use up those leftover Christmas ingredients somehow!). I just need to remember to underbake them because I hate hard oatmeal cookies.

The final creation and the yummiest of them all was the Banana Cake. Licia has a weakness for anything banana and I thought she would love this cake - plus it gave me a chance to use my new Bundt pan. The pan worked really well and left the golden brown crust on the outside and kept the cake moist with a good crumb. I have included the recipe and pic because it was just so good! It is always nice to have a beautiful Bundt cake as reward for all the hard work. You won't be disappointed with this one and it uses up a common item in my kitchen - brown bananas. This recipe is from Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger.

So there you have it, I slaved in my insufferably hot galley kitchen all evening and ended up with quite a bit to show for it. Enjoy the recipe!


Banana Bundt Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 oz. chocolate chips
3 ripe bananas pureed

Butter and flour a tube pan or a bundt pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda).
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, oil and sugar. With the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the sugar has been incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix for another 30 seconds.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients a bit at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then to ensure everything is incorporated.
Once the dry ingredients have been added, remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the pecans, chocolate and bananas. Gently fold them in with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Don't over mix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes and then test the cake to see if it's done by poking a toothpick or cake tester into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake the cake for another 5 to 10 minutes.

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